Total Joint Replacement: Advances in Surgery & Recovery
Dr. John Dundon at The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey spoke with NJ.com to discuss how lengthy hospital stays after total joint replacement surgery might be a thing of the past. Here is the original article from NJ.com on August 10, 2017. Surgery today, home tonight: How far total joint replacement has come.
Imagine having an artificial hip surgically implanted in your body and then walking out of the hospital later that day. It’s hard to fathom. Yet some orthopedic physicians, such as Dr. John Dundon of The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey, are now offering a same-day total joint replacement for the hip and knee. Dr. Dundon recently spoke with NJ Advance Media about the ever-progressing ﬁeld of total joint replacement and the many beneﬁts to his patients.
Q: Is it possible to replace a knee or hip and have a patient walk that same day?
A: I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s not only possible, but it’s also beneficial. In the past, patients would stay overnight in a hospital and could remain immobilized for days after a total joint replacement surgery. Recently, there’s been somewhat of a philosophy shift and we’ve seen the many benefits of getting patients mobilized immediately after a procedure. Of course, we use numbing agents so that patients aren’t feeling pain and can begin their accelerated recovery process right away. Becoming mobilized quickly after surgery also helps lower the risk of blood clots postoperatively.
Q: What are the main beneﬁts of same-day surgery for patients?
A: Well, cost for one. With many insurance plans, patients are responsible for 20 percent of the cost. Take a full night in the hospital out of the equation and you’re looking at a significantly lower bill. Another beneﬁt is that the patient is home and comfortable in their own bed that same night. Not only do patients have more control over their own recovery but they aren’t exposed to any infectious agents that could potentially be found in hospitals.
Q: Is everyone eligible for same-day total joint replacement?
A: Unfortunately, not every patient we see is a proper candidate for same-day total joint replacement. When screening candidates, we’re looking for patients to be fairly active and independent. Motivation also goes a long way—we love seeing people who are motivated to recover quickly and get back to an active, healthy lifestyle. Another component that is important is the pre-screening process at a physical therapy clinic that is up-to-date on same-day surgical procedures. We send our patients who we think may be good candidates for same-day surgeries to Ivy Rehab Physical Therapy where they go through a series of tests and screenings.
Q: What tests can patients expect during pre-operative physical therapy?
A: The physical therapists at Ivy Rehab will conduct balance screenings, functional tests and even evaluate the patient’s home environment to ensure their recovery will be ideal. They’ll also perform some strength testing and gait training to make sure there are no issues that could complicate the recovery process after the procedure. Last, but not least, the physical therapist will train each patient to walk with a walker and crutches so that they’re properly acclimated post-surgery and are less likely to suffer from a slip or fall, causing a setback in their recovery process.
Q: Are there reasons someone may not be eligible for a same-day total joint replacement?
A: Well, factors such as a patient’s age and previous complications will play a role in determining whether they’re a proper candidate. But the best way to ﬁnd out is to come in for a consultation.
Q: When should patients consider a total joint replacement?
A: It’s all about the quality of life. If pain, stiffness or tenderness in the knee or hip is affecting daily life, it’s important to come in for a consultation. Our physicians are always happy to meet new patients and help evaluate whether surgery could improve their quality of life.
To learn more about The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey, visit orthopedicnj.com.
To learn more about Ivy Rehab, visit ivyrehab.com.